Teacher-student interaction in competence-based vocational education in Indonesia

Zainun Misbah

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Competence-based education (CBE) is an educational innovation that has entered many countries all over the world during the last 20 years. Also Indonesian Vocational Education and Training started to implement CBE from 2004 onwards. Theory and research in the field of CBE in vocational education have advanced enormously during the last decades, although empirical research on CBE lags far behind. CBE research and practice is criticised for the lack of evidence on the effectiveness of CBE for actually stimulating student motivation and competence development or decreasing dropout; for the diminishing attention to knowledge development in CBE practice, and the cross-sectional nature of much CBE research. This thesis discusses the validation of competence-based education framework, the effectiveness of competence-based vocational education, and teacher behaviour for student competence development.

This thesis starts with an investigation of the realisation of competence-based education (CBE) in vocational education in Indonesia. It examines the extent to which CBE design principles of the Comprehensive Competence-Based Education Framework (Sturing et al. 2011; Wesselink et al. 2007) developed in a Western context exist in Indonesian policy documents and school practices. This study reviews educational policy documents and collects cross-sectional survey data from 41 school principals, 453 teachers, and 2219 students from 41 agricultural vocational schools in five provinces of Java, Indonesia. Results showed that the ten CCBE principles listed in the framework exist to large extent in Indonesian policy documents. School principals, teachers, and students noticed the realisation of CCBE principles in the study programme to differing degrees, except for the principle of flexibility that was largely absent in the eyes of all stakeholders. The level of CBE implementation varied, from the level of starting competence-based to that of largely competence-based education. This study was used to select “high CBE” VET schools versus “low CBE” VET schools to participate in the follow up studies of this thesis.

Next to that, this thesis examines student outcomes in high CBE programmes versus low CBE programmes. Specifically, it compares students’ competence and knowledge development in VET programmes that have implemented the CBE principles to a higher or lesser degree (indicated as high, or HCBE, and low, or LCBE). The study involved 506 students majoring in food processing and technology and 32 teachers from 11 agricultural secondary vocational schools (six HCBE; five LCBE). Teachers and students rated student competency levels using the Competence Development Measurement Instrument (based on Khaled et al., 2014). Student knowledge was tested with a validated multiple-choice test. Longitudinal data were collected during one school year, at three points in time. The results showed that students’ competence development was higher in HCBE was higher compared to LCBE. This means that the implementation of CBE was successful in terms of stimulating competence development. On the other hand, knowledge development was lower in HCBE than in LCBE, supporting more often heard criticism that knowledge development and competence development might be at odds.

Shifting to CBE requires changing roles of teachers and students (Wesselink et al., 2007). Teachers should act not only as knowledge expert, but also take on the role of coach and facilitator of students’ learning processes, while students should be more active during the learning process. The changing roles are likely to influence the pattern of teacher-student interaction and the way students perceive their teachers’ behaviour. This thesis examines how students (N=1469) from high competence-based and low competence-based vocational schools perceive their teachers’ interpersonal behaviour and how this impact on their motivation. Results showed comparable teacher profiles in HCBE and LCBE schools, with an unexpected difference at the dimension level: student in the HCBE perceived their teacher to be more dominant than student in LCBE. Expected changes in teacher roles were not yet perceived in HCBE schools, while perceived teacher interpersonal behaviour moderated connections between high or low CBE and student motivation, with greater impact in LCBE than in HCBE learning environments. Students in a high competence-based context showed higher intrinsic motivation, however, this relation was moderated by how students perceived their teachers. Results suggested that students’ intrinsic motivation was more closely associated to teachers’ proximity than to their influence and the associations were stronger in LCBE than in HCBE learning environments.

Lastly, this thesis identifies the relations between teacher perceived behaviour and student motivation and competence development in a high or low CBE context. Specifically, this thesis examines the connections between the two dimensions of teacher interpersonal behaviour (proximity and influence) and student competency levels of four measured competencies, and how these connections might be mediated by students’ intrinsic motivation. Additionally, it examines if these relationships differ in learning environments which have high to low characteristics of competence-based education (HCBE vs LCBE). Three questionnaires filled in by 506 first-year students were analysed using Multigroups Structural Equation Modelling. In both HCBE and LCBE context, the results showed direct effects of teacher interpersonal behaviour dimensions on students’ competency development as well as indirect effects partially mediated by students’ intrinsic motivation. Two significant differences were found between the structural model of the HCBE versus LCBE contexts: first, teacher cooperative behaviour (i.e., the proximity dimension) affected student motivation and in turn their competency development more positively in LCBE environments. Second, teachers’ controlling behaviour (i.e., the influence dimension) lowered students’ perceived competency levels, and the resulting deteriorating effect is stronger in HCBE learning environments.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Mulder, Martin, Promotor
  • Gulikers, Judith, Co-promotor
Award date21 May 2019
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463439770
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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